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Anarchist Towns: Anarcho-Religious

In this post, I will be discussing a religiously based group of anarchists. I am loosely basing their morality and faith on Christianity, because that is the religious sect with the most available information and theorists. To make this relevant to D&D, I would approximate this group as followers of a deity based on the sun, healing, goodness, or light. This model could just as easily be taken to apply to different faiths in game by changing up the appearance, themes, and foundational morals to match with the intended god or faiths you want to represent with an anarchistic town.

Philosophy

God is the only being and mind with the authority to command humanity. Holy texts contain many passages about putting none before your god or gods, and it is these passages that provide inspiration for devotees to seek to free themselves from the unjust authority of other men. How they run their society and how they organize to meet their basic mortal needs depends on the laws and commandments within their holy texts. Even judgement of the living must be handed down by god and it is usually not even considered just for a priest to coerce others, but they must rely on citing scripture and convincing others of the righteousness of their commands.

History

A peaceful religion, whose devotees favored a lack of vengeance, held that their god had granted free will to determine who would obtain a blissful afterlife was in the right place at the right time. In the past, a few successive high leaders of the church had begun denouncing the practices and unjust laws of a weakened republic to cover up their own misdeeds. Emboldened by their leaders new scriptural discoveries, a sect of the religion broke away, citing the same misdeeds by these supposed religious leaders claiming gods will. Their hard-nosed focus on proving their merit and hard work ethic was rewarded in their embracing of an era of colonialism, where they settled on previously uninhabited lands. Away from prying governments, they were finally able to build their city on a hill with their like-minded fellows.

People

Kind but quiet people keep to themselves and abhor wasting time. Once they get to know an outsider, they will happily discuss a wide breadth of topics while they engage in a productive hobby or craft: often their minds turn to philosophy, business dealings, new discoveries of the world god has created, and their latest productive pursuits. While their hard work ethic has given them many comforts, they do not stockpile wealth except to safeguard against loss, and will freely give to those in need. Idle time is a gift from god that has been impudently refused.

Town

The people here favor sturdy and rustic stonework, carved with holy symbols and motifs. City on a Hill is laid out in a grid pattern, with helpful, hand carved signposts on most corners. Sanitation systems below clean, cobbled roads connect these buildings. Paved town squares, a few massive churches, and a number of public parks work as the town’s gathering places. Things are well cared for, with many people adopting a public area as their hobbies.

Laws

Not the laws of men, but the laws of their god are the laws the people follow here. Nonviolence, peace, charity, and similar themes make up the rules of society. They run things different here, as there respect for the final authority of god even extends to human enforcement of god’s laws. Lawbreakers are notified of their sins against god and their fellows, but unrepentant villains will notice the town refuses to associate with them. This intends to encourage compliance with the rules of society or encourage those with differing values to leave. Outsiders that at least avoid blatant rule breaking and who show respect for the religion are welcome, as the townsfolk believe that god encourages evangelism as well as learning about all aspects of creation. Evil, continual sinners of the worst sort will be dealt with as painlessly as can be managed by privately organized groups to prevent further harm to themselves and innocents. Beyond a certain point, most here feel, that inaction in the face of evil is the same as condoning evil, rather than simply letting the individual face god’s judgement without interference.

Market

Honesty and industry are key to the functioning of this town. By each individual taking their free time to organize and work with their community, various functions of public life are maintained. Accumulation of wealth is discouraged here because wealth will not save the soul, but one’s actions can, so it is best to use a surplus to help others. The goods that are sold here to supply the items the town needs are produced with heartfelt craftsmanship and many things are for sale here. Sales proceeds go to pay for resources not available in town but adventurers will have trouble finding gaudy items or weapons of war, save for the occasional item necessary for defense.

1d6 People You’ll Meet

  1. A young man, well tanned and long-haired, mumbles from behind his beard about universal love. He is seeking useful questions to ask the gods that he sees when under the influence of lotus bloom. The sadness in his eyes hints at the level of success he has had in retaining the wisdom he has gained while intoxicated.
  2. A older woman who is quite homely, plods through her daily work. Many come to her for help in a wide array of specialties, complicated work, and professional capacities but she handles each in turn, perfectly handling anything that comes her way. Those she helps are quick to thank her and fast to overlook the incongruities of her life. She is secretly an elf approaching six hundred years old who has settled in this town, feeling that it has met what she always conceived of in her worship of her elven goddess. She carefully will never mention that she believes god to be a woman.
  3. A father of ten commiserates his young wife is pregnant again, worrying about being able to provide for his many children and having to rely on others for aid, feeling that he is taking advantage of their kindness. He can only employ so many children in the family business of candle-making, because the town has many more candles than they need! His candles are quite amazing and he is just being self-depreciating, the town isn’t purchasing so many out of pity for him.
  4. This weathered, bearded preacher lives outdoors with nothing but the dirty robe on his back. Most of the townsfolk will ignore his slightly heretical proselytizing, taking his enthusiasm and voluntary poverty as essentially good despite his eccentricities. He heals small children and vagrants, but makes them swear to secrecy that he does so.
  5. Miserly but young, this mason brushes his cracked hands on his chin when thinking. He never stops from his work for long, but will do so to give a brusque greeting to strangers. His interest is in finding new clients to build structures for, unknowing that he has a strong addiction for stone dust, rather than for the work itself.
  6. A radiant young woman is proud of her rather pregnant belly as she shuffles through town selling candles. Any mention of her pregnancy or many children will bring a happy look to her face as she thanks god for the miracles in her life. Many had thought her infertile at a young age after a horrific accident with a wagon. She dreams of becoming an apothecary to aid others like the aid she received from a secretive good witch. Often, she will practice with tinctures and rigorously tests wives tales and myths for truth. Sometimes, her cooking and candle sales can suffer for her seeming absent-mindedness.

1d6 Things That’ll Happen

  1. A boisterous preacher notices the PC’s as standouts among the usual townsfolk. He begins to follow them around, hoping to convince these fresh ears of the heretical intricacies of how layered stone separates the people from their god. His argumentation stays just this side of suggesting building destruction, but many in the town are none-too-happy about the topics of his sermons.
  2. 42 pilgrims walk past the party as the players enter town. The players are just in time to catch the leftovers of a great send-off festival. There is cheap, but mostly stale food and beer available. If asked about the pilgrimage, the players will recognize the target location as fraught with danger both en route and at the final destination. The pilgrims definitely did not seem supplied or armed well enough to deal with what is ahead for them. Players leaving relatively quickly would be able to catch up in time to offer aid to the religious travelers, who cannot offer much as a reward, but whose god will offer a boon to the party depending on how many pilgrims make it through unharmed.
  3. The local soup kitchen has begun to overflow, so to speak, with free food for the few remaining poor in town. Not wanting to sit idle or waste food, a group of the volunteers spot the vaguely homeless looking players and whisk them inside. Refusing the food will turn the townsfolk inside into passive aggressive social enemies of the players who will spread mostly true rumors about their lack of politeness. Perhaps the players could suggest a better use for their talents to help the poor?
  4. Cat burglars have been walking into the normally unlocked homes of people here during church sermons and stealing their gold and silver religious items. The people find it difficult to catch the thieves due to the thefts happening when everyone is in church as well as finding it uncomfortable to even mention the thefts because of recent sermons about the false piety gold and silver icons represent. The thieves themselves have also been leaving behind quotes of scripture denigrating the owners of such idols.
  5. Rewards are being posted in the town boards calling for mercenaries and hired-hands to save their imprisoned sect-members from prisons in adjacent lands. Nearby leaders have taken a hostile stance against the followers of their sect of the religion and a number are being held in a few scattered prisons. Each faithful saved will be rewarded in valuable metals, goods, and land.
  6. Players enter the town to find it deserted but clean. Homes are unlocked and everything inside in its rightful place. Everyone in town is in church. No one would know it was the players if they did anything before church lets out…

 

1 thought on “Anarchist Towns: Anarcho-Religious

  1. Great, thanks for sharing this article.

    Like

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